Informatica World Tour India: The Magic of Thinking Big – From Data to Profit
As organizations wake up to the dawn of endless possibilities of value creation from big data, they are also faced with the challenge of deriving value from actionable, accessible, and secure data. From growing transactional information to vast reservoirs of social media data, from long-neglected unstructured content to real-time data streams taken from sensors and devices, big data presents both a business opportunity and an IT challenge for organizations in virtually every industry.
While most IT decision-makers view big data projects as a way to improve operational efficiency and agility, many see opportunities to deliver new products and services and increase customer acquisition and retention by taking advantage of big data. However, the path of implementation is strewn with multifarious challenges. Mining the data requires highly skilled analytical talent capable of translating massive data into actionable insights that lead to tangible business results. Dearth of big data resources, scarcity of used case scenarios and difficult and time-consuming implementation were the underpinning of an insightful panel discussion titled “The Magic of Thinking Big – From Data to Profit” at the Informatica World Tour India, held in Mumbai recently. The high power panel comprised Tony Young, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Informatica; Arun Dhall, Head of Decision Support System, the Enterprise Data Warehouse and BI division of Reliance; and Soumendra Mohanty, Partner and Global Lead-Information Management, Analytics and Big Data, Accenture.
In his opening remarks, Tony Young brought to light the obstacles that companies wanting to transform their business through big data face. One of the most serious challenges that exist in the market today is a shortage of specialized skillsets that can unlock the value of big data. You need people who can demystify the data and take a holistic view of it. There are also challenges relating to data quality and data governance. It is important to have good practices around people and processes, as well as the right set of enabling technologies,” he explained.
Echoing his sentiments Arun Dhall, Head of Decision Support System, the Enterprise Data Warehouse and BI division of Reliance, said that understanding big data in business parlance is the only way to unleash its power. CIOs will have to take a highly collaborative and partnership-oriented approach for value creation. Practitioners with analytical and technical depth are needed to solve big data problems, with academic concentrations in the hard sciences, statistics, and mathematics which can help tap this newfound wealth. “Data scientist, data architect, data engineers, and data visualizers will be immensely helpful in this area. The role of big data evangelists who can articulate the value of data in business language to IT people is also critical. It will require a convergence of skills in mathematics, statistics, artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP). Getting all of these skills in one individual is not easy. You have to bring multiple skillsets together. I have created focus groups for this reason,” he said.
It is important for organizations to have a crystal clear view of the business imperative they seek to address with big data and they need to distill it into the most simplistic form. “Before you get your feet wet, create a used case scenario. Pick one business problem that you’d like to solve and then run a small pilot. Once that is achieved, you can build a roadmap. This helps you create a solid groundwork for a successful implementation,” he further emphasized.
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Sneha Jha is a senior correspondent for CIO India and ComputerWorld India. Send your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.